Thursday, September 29, 2011

Double Time

Cross season is here now for sure....double the fun on everything.  Twice as many dirty clothes, twice as many bikes to clean, and double the amount of racing per weekend.  No wonder everybody loves cross....more bang for your buck.  This morning I spent a long time cleaning my bikes from this past weekend.  It took me three full days before I had the energy to tackle the project.  14 wheels, 2 bikes, and Andrea conveniently rolled in from a rainy bike ride with her bike that needed a little love too as I was finishing.   3 bikes 16 wheels clean!  Lacking motivation to go and dry them, lube them, and check them over.

If you want even more cross...tomorrow night I am hosting a cross clinic for the WCA!  WCA cross season starts this weekend with the My Wife Inc race at the Domes in Milwaukee and a new venue at Riverside Park in Kewaskum.  If you are interested in attending the clinic it is tomorrow night (Friday Sept. 30th) @ 4pm at Crank Daddy's in Milwaukee.  Check it out here.  or call Crank Daddy's - 414-347-5514 for more info

Also check this out...

The secret is out...and its been a secret in the making for a long time....back in 1995 after Jon 'Tons of Fun' Mesko won the Junior National Downhill Championship he turned into a major slacker!  Jon was my nemesis and greatest competition as a junior cyclist growing up in MI.  The first time I beat Jon he was overheard in a parking lot after the race threatening to attack me or my bike with a tire iron.  We had a great rivalry, but like I said after Jon found fame in downhill racing his XC endurance went south.  We then traveled the country together for the next 3 years racing the NORBA series, him dowhnill and me XC.  However he always managed great results at the Iceman!  He gave credit to his results to a 2 week get fast training plan. Over the years the plan has changed/adapted, but in some form or another I have always followed Mesko's plan and as you know it has brought me great success at the Iceman.  Now the secret is out w/ a professional twist from Momentum Endurance & TJ here for more info .  For a 10% discount enter in Promo Coupon : bmatter

I am wearing the old Gyro helmet w/ Merlin jersey and purple long sleeve from Addison Oaks as base layer.  Mesko is the tall dude next to me!

200 meters to the finish!

The last time Mesko ever beat me in a XC race!

Monday, September 26, 2011

jumpin head first into the mud

Well I'm really glad that weekend is over with!  It was a super hard mental transition going from Chequamegon to lining up behind Bart Wellens 6 days later.  I had really only been on my cross bike 2 times off-road, I didn't get to do any local races beforehand, and I didn't really know how I was going to perform.  Luckily it was awesome.  A huge part of it was my sponsors allowed me to get my equipment super early this year.  I knew my bikes were dialed and that relieved a lot of stress leading up to Chequamegon.  Obviously Chequamegon went good, but then there is always a little mental let down after a huge goal for the season is checked off the list.  Good thing my fitness is really good right now because that is what carried me through my first weekend of cross for the year.  Now I can take a little mental brake and start to get ready for the next big push!

phota @ Amy Dykema
I lined up on the inside and had a pretty good start.  Nothing spectacular, but solid.  I was probably 17th over the barriers 1/4 of the way through the first lap.  Starting lap #2 I passed 3-4 guys and Kabush was just ahead of me.  I missed the lead group.  Zach McD was just dangling.  A lap later we settled into a solid group w/ Kabush & Ben Berden from Belgium.  A lap later we passed Page in the pits and he tagged on the back.  Page slowly went to the front of our group and then surged to catch Zach.  A lap later Christain Huele was coming back to us.  It turned into a really solid chase group of 7th - 12th place.  With 3 to go I took my turn at the front.  I was losing air in my front tire, but couldn't afford to lose the group in the high speed pits.  Huele took over with 2 to go.  I almost crashed/rolled a tire and was gapped off.  I chased back on for the next lap and w/ 1/2 lap to go Zach McD took a sweet inside line.  Next straight away Huele, Zach, and Page attacked and Huele put Zach into Page and they took a crazy crash.  Berden and Huele gapped Kabush and I after the crash.  Kabush was too strong for me in the last 1/2 lap.  10th place!

Day #2

photo @ Mike Janikowski

First cross race under the belt yesterday, so now we better get the first mudder out of the way!  It was perfect cross conditions.  60 and raining.  Lots of mud.  It was sweet to have supreme confidence in choosing my HED Ardennes aluminum rims with Dugast Rhyno tires.  No doubts, No questions, I was all in and confident with my equipment.  This time I lined up on the outside because I thought the outside line in the grass was faster.  Wrong choice.  The inside guys got the jump and when the hit the grass they went outside and I got pinched.  It was muddy and slippery and I was a little rusty in the skills department.  Another solid group was forming, but I was a little too far back.  This time I could see Kabush, Troy Well, Berden and J Pow just 10-15 seconds ahead of me for half the race, but couldn't close it...I ended up battling with Zach Mcd and Yannick Eckman most of the race.  A few too many blown corners didn't allow me to conserve energy throughout the race.  I soft pedaled the last lap because nobody was in site and finished 13th.

photo @ D Marchewka photography

Time to clean up and rest up.  Always awesome racing in front of a home crowd.  Tons of CX superfans cheering me on!!!  Another huge thanks to Tim, Tony, & the crew from MWI for the help in the pits.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Feelin' the Love in Madison!

Awesome day at the USGP yesterday!  Did you miss it???  Check it out here...the full one hour race here w/ lots of love from Colt.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but things turned out good.  Superfans were awesome especially the yahoo's from da UP!  Started the day with a Trek Cronus/Bontrager photo shoot and then had the best cross of my career w/ a deep field!  First try w/ the HED wheels were solid for the first CX of the year.  Finished it off with a great dinner at the local burrito joint w/ Trav, Chloe, Tristan, Jamie, Street, and Tim who gets unsung hero of the day award!  Who orders Chocolate Mile at a Mexican restaraunt anyway!  More to come, but I have to go race again!

more photos @
1Ryan Trebon (USA)0:58:59
2Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team
3Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha/Focus0:00:22
4Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team0:00:39
5James Driscoll (USA) Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com0:00:40
6Timothy Johnson (USA) Cannondale pb CyclocrossWorld.com0:00:59
7Ben Berden (Bel) Ops Ale-Clement
8Christian Heule (Sui) Cannondale pb
9Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis / Rocky Mountain
10Brian Matter (USA) Gear Grinder / Clif Bar
11Jonathan Page(USA) Planet Bike
12Troy Wells(USA) Clif Bar

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


A few final thoughts on Chequamegon...

According to Tilford's blog CVV was putting out 550 watts @ 51 kph down Boedecker Rd.  Ouch...

Quote of the weekend goes something like this, "Yeah, I took a pull.....when I knew the camera man was right around the corner."  It's not word for word, but it was frickin' funny...Trek Stores of Boulder has got to be proud of TJ Woodruff!  Way to get those sponsors in the limelight!


OK - Now its time to move on to next weekend.  I am very happy I opted to skip out on tonight's race in St. Louis.  After such a big mental focus on Chequamegon it would have been really tough to be ready to go good tonight.  6 days to get ready for the USGP w/ such a high level of competition is going to be tough enough as it is.
the drying rack
Cross season is here though.  Yesterday I spent a good chunk of time gluing the last of my tires.  I am really fortunate that HED hooked me up with even more Stingers 5's and Ardennes wheelsets so I can be prepared for any conditions possible!

aqualseal, mastik, and some jtreelife tea = a good night
Overall I feel really lucky.  I don't have the support of a huge cyclocross team like Rapha or CXWorld, but I have so many individual sponsors & friends helping me.  Three different shops around the country helped me get my tubulars...Crank Daddy's in Milwaukke, Boulder Cycle Sport, and Portland Bicycle Studio!  Clif Bar has stepped up huge with financial support to cover entry fees.

plus all the Clif calories I can handle

HED wheels, Oakley, Crank Bros, Shimano w/ the Dura Ace components & shoes, Bell Helmets(gotta love the Eyeballs!),

can a helmet really be your secret weapon?
Trek w/ the new Cronus and of course Gear Grinder/Hyundai!  Joshua Tree Skin Care has even come out with a new line of embrocations.  Signature editions of proprietary blends from myself, Kelli Emmet, and Adam Craig!  They will be available for purchase any day now and

Tabasco on a Grapefruit?

See you in Madison - hopefully I don't need the FULL HEAT quite yet!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Chequamegon - what its really all about.  The bike race is pretty cool, but its really about the tradition.  Nothing beats the atmosphere of bike racing in the Northwoods.  We started the trip like always, loading up the Hyundai Touring, heading north on Hwy 43, turning the Ipod to the 80's, and dodging Harley's on the highway. First stop Subway in Phillips.  Usually we run into the Titletown crew, but this time around the Street Player had to do his hair in the morning so we missed them by 5 minutes.  A cruise through Park Falls, Ruffed Grouse capital of the world, and home to Jesse and Marko!

The classic start shot!

We pull into Telemark Ski area around 2:30 and run into Mike Anderson.  I am pumped as Mike is my favorite guy in the world to ride mountain bikes with.  We head out for the standard pre-ride.  Backwards on the course for 5 miles.  Take the secret short cut to check out the Firetower climb and then finish out the course to plan the race strategy.

After the ride its mandatory to go say hi to Demo Ken at the Trek trailer and then hop in line at registration.  The volunteer in line gives me a hard time about how many White Castle sliders are on the line if I win -vs- CVV.  We get out of there in record time, rock some 90's on the Ipod on the drive to Hayward for the standard pre-race meal at Coops.  Then we head over to the Northern Pine Inn, flip on the bad movie of the weekend(Fast and Furious) and settle in for a good nights sleep.

Happy that I don't have to wake up at 5am for this tradition!

We wake up and head over to Coopers for breakfast.  Back to the room for final preparations.  Luckily, and what might have been the game changer, Karate Kid is on TV for some extra motivation!  We drive over to the secret parking lot.  With no plans as to how to get bags, cars, or myself and my bike to and from the start/finish I am not stressed.  I know the tradition of the race and I will either see the Woodruff's or the Sova's in the secret parking lot!  And like clockwork there they were!  All set with water hand ups and fresh clothes at the finish!  Thanks!

At the finish my bags magically appear thanks to Woody!  A slight change of tradition when I don't get to look for Andrea coming across the finish line :( .  But a new tradition and possibly the new best part of Chequamegon race weekend.  Post race Pizza from Rivers Eatery in Cable.  If you haven't tried this place out you have to go there next year!  It was delicious and we had great company!  

Back to Hayward to pick up the car from the secret parking lot, showers, and more Karate Kid.  The traditional phone call to the Sawmill Saloon for more pizza on the way to the Awards ceremony.  The sharing of war stories, the slide show, and a late night drive while completely blown out watching for deer and bear back to the hotel in Hayward.

An early morning departure so we can be home to watch some football on a Sunday.  From here on out Sundays are reserved for CX not football.  A quick stop for breakfast at the Phillips Cafe.  Once again Marilyn, the Bears fan, is our waitress and we sit at the bar.  Street sleeps on the way home while I suffer to stay awake.  Packers on the radio, home to pick up Rosco from the In-Laws and watch the second half of the game!  Another Chequmegon in the books.  Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen, sponsors, friends, racers, promoters, etc...everyone has there own tradition and its what makes Cheq Fat Tire 40 a great event.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Road Racin' on Mtb's!

Chequamegon Fat Tire Time!  29 years of Fat Tire FUN!

Podium shot!  photo @ Amy Dykema

I did it again!  Smart racing and the best fitness of my life just won me my 4th trip to the top of the CHEQ FAT TIRE 40 podium and 3rd in a row!  I wasn't sure how things would shake out with very elite competition in the field, but in the end they actually made it a little easier than normal.

photos @
The start is always a little crazy at the Fat Tire 40
It was hard, don't get me wrong, and I had to suffer like a dog a couple times on the last section of the Birkie trail, but the high speeds just kept spitting riders off the back of the group.  For the majority of the race my new eyeball Bell Volt helmet was locked onto the big red R on the back of Jason McCartney's jersey and the big white e on the back of Christian VandeVelde's speed suit.

I picked my favorite wheel right away!
Fortunately it is still a mtn bike race and skills and smarts came into play.  First off I can't ever imagine doing a race like that on a hardtail.  I was almost smiling to myself through the pain as I would effortlessly(not really and in the draft of a Tour De France rider) pedal down the hills and over the tops of the bumpy birkie watching them bounce all over the place.  The Trek Top Fuel was huge in energy savings after 40 miles of whacking blind bumbs in the tall grass at 20mph's.  To prove it....3 Trek Top Fuel's in the Top 6 overall.  Most Impressive Ride of the Day goes to Matt Shriver(6th).  Surprise Ride Of The Day goes to Travis Woodruff(4th)...both on Trek Top Fuels!

J-Mac from the Shack was gassin' it all day
Second - the skills.  J-Mac & CVV were obviously strong, but they seemed to be slightly lacking in the confidence on the fast descents and the loose corners.  This allowed me to float off the back, open a little gap, corner with speed, get back onto the wheel, and not accelerate.  The new Bontrager XR1's were sweet.  They mount up like a 2.2 with huge volume and low rolling resistance.  I ran them at about 22psi and they were so solid underneath me the entire race.

still on my favorite wheel
Three - smarts.  This race is all about positioning.  Very rarely was I ever further back than 2nd wheel.  Sometime I was 3rd wheel or maybe on a long road section if I took a drink or some Clif Shots I would drift back to 5th, but right away back to 2nd position in the next corner.  Any further back than that and you are done for.  The yo-yo affect of the birkie at high speeds can shatter you.  Usually it shatters riders, but also those pulling so we all slow up and re-group.  With J-Mac & CVV there was no slowing.  We AVG'd 20.2 mph in a 40 mile slighly uphill mtb race.  That's fast and positioning was key.  I never had to work hard to make any of the splits by being in good position.

climbing the firetower : photo @
At the end I was suffereing...I went to the front on the Firetower so I wouldn't get dropped.  J-Mac passed me after 2 of the big step ups and CVV was gapped!
Didn't think we'd gap CVV on the Firetower!

Coming down the back side Michael Olheiser and I dropped J-Mac.  I knew that if I could make it up the Birkie I could win.  It all came together with 8 to go so I attacked the final downhill before the Birkie in order to get another 100 meter gap and easily make it over the first two rollers. Olheiser attacked the third started to hurt.  J Mac went hard and I almost cracked, but the eyeball lid was like a tractor beam on the back of CVV's jersey.  The faster they went the easier it was to roll over the tops of the climbs.  I was going to make it!  CVV attacked on the last roller of the Birkie and J-Mac sits up.  Am I getting tag teamed by Pro Tour riders?  Olheiser gets gapped and CVV gets a 10 seconds gap.  I figured I could close it in the next two corners.  Corner number one and J-Mac goes slow.  Long downhill dirt rode w/ tons of rocks...usually under water, but not this year.  The next right hander is tough....I set up, look for my line and see CVV w/ a flat tire.  One more spot for me....Immediately to the back to wait for Telemark road.  2 miles of downhill dirt road and a lead group of 3 rotating through.  J-Mac starts rubbing the cramps in his legs and Olheiser does the same!  WOW I CAN WIN!

the last descent
2 miles to go and J-Mac cautiously enters the Telemark Trail.  As soon as possible I attack a descent and the next climb and open up another 100 meter gap!  I gage my effort though knowing its a little far to go....hoping they completely crack, but they bridge.  Last climb of the race I attack again and get another instant gap!  I knew I had it as the roadies weren't going to catch me on the final two descents!  It was close, but not nearly as close as the sprint with Cole 2 years ago or my first sprint win with Tilford in 04!  Most wins ever at Chequamegon and in record time 2:00:59!
I was fired up!

 Thanks to everyone!  Too bad Andrea doesn't even know the results!  She is in California w/ Elicia on a back pack trip!
just like wrestling a big ol black bear!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Another WORS season in the books.  With the CX season starting in 8 days I will not be making it to the last two WORS races.  So its looking like a 2nd or 3rd overall.  After a win yesterday Nathan G still has a chance to win the last 2 races and beat me with the extra 5 point bonus'.
photo:  Niki Krayer Frazier

photo:  Niki Krayer Frazier
I wasn't sure how things were going to go at Treadfest.  Usually I love the trails there and was hoping for a good time to rip the singletrack, but something was a little off.  Not sure if it was my suspenstion pressure, tire pressure, or lack of tread on the rear tire, but I wasn't that comfortable in the singletrack.  I was bouncing off of trees and couldn't hold a line for anything.  Both shoulders and both forearms are missing skin this morning.  I also wasn't the most motivated I've ever been on the start line with bigger goals on the horizon.

When Cole and Nathan attacked early I had to let them go to stay within myself.  They were in sight for most of the first lap, but they pre-rode the course and Tristan and I didn't so in the last longer singletrack they were gone.  I followed Tristan most of lap 1 and wasn't comfy at all.  So I led going into lap 2 and pretty much stayed there the rest of the race.  Cole eventually waited for us and starting the last lap it was a battle.  Tristan attacked, Cole followed then crashed, I bridged to Tristan, I passed Tristan, Tristan passed me, Cole caught back on, Cole attacked and blew it apart.  We all finished with 20 seconds and I was 3rd.  I'll take it...

Now its time to rest up, refuel with an awesomely huge Cinnamon Roll special delivery from the UP, and get ready for the next 2 weekends of big racing in WI.

Friday, September 09, 2011

and the Winner is.....

and the Winner is......The Packers!  What a game and I was there to watch it!!!  Amazing atmosphere....
With a little help from the new SONY I made this Panoramic Photo from the game!

Andrea and I met up with Michelle Peariso and her dad for the game.  I was a little nervous when we got into the red zone(outside of Lambeau with a Kid Rock concert going and "a lot" of crazed Green and Gold Packer Backers) and the cell phones didn't work.  Luckily we found each other at the last minute.  The energy in Lambeau from the National Anthem through the first quarter all the way until the last play of the game was greater than any other game I have witnessed!  

and the Winner is........Shimano.  A couple days ago I went over to the local cyclocross park for a major testing session.  With some tires glued up and the bikes ready to go it was time.  Last year braking was my biggest problem/concern.  So this year I wanted things to be dialed.  Last weekend I spent some time in Eagle River resurfacing brake pads for some real fun!
You know your not BIG TIME when...

With HED wheels on board I knew I was going to be a lot better off with the Ardennes when the going got sloppy, but I still wanted the best braking control out there.  Soon disc brakes will change the game, but until then I had to see what worked best for me.  I tested the Shimano CX 70's vs the Avid Ultimates.  Shimano was the big winner after every brake pad/rim surface combo imaginable.  In the end I felt the Avid were stronger than the TRP's from last year, but the Shimano had the consistent power and reliability at all speeds with all pads and rims.  I'm pretty pumped to have found a canti brake that feels as good as a V-Brake.

The best canti's I've ever used!

and the Winner is.......Sony!  That's right Sony.  I am doing this update on a new Sony Vaio Z Series laptop computer.  Coaching is going awesome.  I have great interaction with my clients and with cross season coming soon I needed a fast reliable way to stay on top of the job while on the road.  I have been wanting a new laptop since the first year I went to Belgium and borrowed one from a friend.  Now that I am working online everyday I had the perfect excuse to go and buy one.  I have some serious power at my fingertips!  Blue-Ray, LED HD screen, SSD, super thin, super light, super fast!

Sony Vaio Z Series!!!

and the Winner is.....??? WORS #10 for the series overall this weekend and its been a battle this year between Tristan and I.  Some bad luck for me that cost me the WORS win in the Mt. Morris short track.  A misjudged sprint for Tristan that cost him the win in Wausau.  A roadie coming in late in the game and stealing a win from me in Green Bay.  With a 10 point deficit, mathematically I have to win and Tristan has to DNF this Sunday.  I'm not holding my breathe, but I'll do everything I can to go my part of the deal done.  It will be my last race of the WORS season either way.  Then its game time at Cheq and CX season!

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

UP North

Labor Day weekend!  Hopefully not, but it might be may last chance to go up to Eagle River before the chaos of cross season begins.  So we took full advantage.  Friday after Andrea finished work we loaded up the Hyundai(again) and made the 4 hour journey to the north woods.  Saturday was a hard day of training for me and a trip into Eagle River for Andrea followed by what felt like the last summer meal.  Burgers, corn on the cob, fresh garden veggie salad, and baked beans.  We kind of transitioned into fall mode after the dinner by going outside (brrrrr) for a camp fire and some smores!

Michigan Youth Cycling's Jeff Buerman having a post race beer w/ Andrea
We awoke Sunday morning and figured if we are already this far north we might as well go a little more for some amazing trails and the company of some good friends!  Destination; Copper Harbor Fat Tire Fetival!  We pulled in the parking lot after a 3 hour drive of rain and 55 degrees and the rain stopped and the sun started peaking through the clouds.  A mountain biking miracle!  We parked right next to Buerman and the Michigan Youth Cycling crew.  
Andrea after her WIN w/ Caleb from THE BIKE SHOP in Houghton
The race was started out casual, but instantly took a turn as we veered off the main road and headed up Brockway MTN!  It was a real climb and a shock to the system!  I was tired from the hard training and could feel it right away.  Good thing we had an amazing 12 minute descent on the FLOW trail after the climb!!!  At the bottom of the descent the lead group of 4 was established along with Pete K from Junior MTB camp.  We were all having a blast ripping the descents together.  C.P. was having fun hurting me on the climbs.

C.P. giving me shit for not knowing the finish line!
Andrea won her race by 4 minutes!  She said the Top Fuel was the best bike shes ever ridden!   On the last downhill of the mens race C.P. gave a look over his shoulder like its game time.  I crushed it for a while, but then realized I wasn't exactly sure where the finish line was.  Actually I had no clue at all where the finish line was.  I kind of thought it was going to be on the pavement on the main drag where we started.  We veered off the pavement around a 120 degree turn.  CP took the inside line and before I knew it the race was over.  Next year I'll know a little better!  I was 2nd and Tyler G. from Culvers was 3rd.  We all had a blast on the trails of Copper Harbor!

As soon as we headed for home the rain started again.  We tried to hit up the Jeri Queen for some post race Ice Cream, but it was closed.  Bummer.  Next up Packers -vs- Saints & Lk. Geneva Treadfest!!!!!

Unfortunately it was closed....